Utah Department of Agriculture and Food

UDAF Aquaponics Garden Unveiled

Welcome to one possible future of farming. At the UDAF main office in Salt Lake City, the back breezeway behind the main lobby has been turned into demonstration aquaponic and hydroponic gardens.

Hydroponics is growing plants without soil. The nutrients plants need to grow are added to water. Plants either have their roots suspended in water or water drips onto the plants. In aquaponics, live fish are kept in a tank connected to the system and their bodily functions supply the fertilizer.

Watch the video of the installation of the aquaponics part of the UDAF demonstration garden. It explains how the systems functions.


A Specialty Crop Grant from USDA made the garden possible. The purpose of the garden is to show backyard gardeners and farmers alike how easy and affordable it is to start a small garden this way. If you have an indoor spot for your garden, you can grow year round. The smaller systems in five gallon buckets do not use fish. Nutrients must be added for plants to grow. On the upside, however, they are very portable. The larger system is not portable, but you can grow more plants, it is probably less expensive in the long run to buy and feed the fish than it is to buy nutrients for the plants, and, if you get an edible fish, like the hybrid striped bass in the UDAF system, you may be able to harvest your fish as often as annually.


Here are some links to websites that teach how to build simple hydroponics systems. Early in 2016, we will post instructions for building the aquaponic system.

Beginners guide to hydroponics

Hydroponics for Beginners

Build a homemade hydroponics system

Tomorrow's garden website with instructions and a video about how to build a rain tower

You Tube Links:




Introduction to aquaponics, Canadian website: